You don't call, you don't write ... unless you're a telemarketer

Is it any surprise that direct marketers are easily circumventing the Feds' Do Not Call registry, as the Wall Street Journal reports? Lead generators are exploiting a loophole which allows direct calls to individuals on the list if written consent is provided. So marketers have turned to the tried-and-true method of direct mail. "Reply cards," the favored tool, are standard fare. They typically target the elderly, the most susceptible market, with purportedly useful retirement information or the claim of an affiliation with AARP. And it's perfectly legal.

The only recourse is if the marketer is particularly deceptive. One such company, unsurprisingly, is ChoicePoint. Yes, the same company that allowed the data of hundreds of thousands of individuals to leak to other scammers data brokers. ChoicePoint is sending more than a million of these lead cards a year, even after AARP successfully sued a subsidiary for promising a "new" AARP probate study that was fourteen years old and no longer valid.